Devine’s Upgraders Part 3: The Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader doubled the city in size

Lloydminster Mayor Gerald Aalbers said, “Without the upgrader, Lloydminster would likely be a community of under 15,000.”
The most recent 2021 census put the city’s population at just shy of 32,000, a marginal improvement from 2016.

After some pioneering work in using steam to produce heavy oil, trying several different extraction methods, Husky started building essentially cookie-cutter projects. Each involved a steam plant, and several well pads composed of well pairs using a technology called “steam assisted gravity drainage,” or SAGD. That might sound like a lot of technobabble until you realize the important points: Each of these thermal projects produces 10,000 barrels of oil per day, and cost $250 to $350 million a pop to build. And Husky built 11 of these projects in northwest Saskatchewan by 2020, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding crash in oil markets.